Votes Buying/Selling and the Manipulation of Election Results: A Quagmire in Nigerian Electoral System?

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By Adedolapo Adekitan

As the rescheduled date for the general elections draws near, and the approval for the resumption of campaigns for the election by INEC takes effect, it is pertinent for the electorate to be aware and desist from the cankerworm that has been eating deep into the Nigerian electoral system – the buying and selling of votes. Also, officials who are in charge of election results should desist from the manipulation of such results.

It is quite saddening that votes buying/selling as well as the manipulation of election results have undermined the conduct of credible elections in the country over the years. They have persistently plagued the Nigerian Electoral system. Hence, if such acts continue to exist, Nigeria is definitely a doomed nation.

Although several measures had been taken in the past by the government to eradicate these acts, none has ever worked and it won’t be surprising when such acts play out again in the general and Gubernatorial elections.

Votes buying/selling is antidemocratic act, it is illegal and therefore should be discouraged. But the question is, can it cease?

Recently, there was news and a video which served as evidence of a man caught with result sheets showing that the People’s Democratic Party(PDP), won the election scheduled for 16th February, 2019. It was alleged that those results were found in his car.

While these obnoxious acts are being discouraged by many, others think it is an act to redeem the impoverished and that’s on the side of votes buying. Desperate politicians are of the idea that money solves the problems of people and by spending the money, they receive what they want.

Recently, I bumped into a news of a leaked audio of our dear Asiwaju Tinubu where he said: “Buhari doesn’t have the kind of money I can steal, neither does he have the money I can collect. He doesn’t even have the money for Lagos votes. So whatever I promised, it’s for real and is coming from my pocket…”

With this statement, one can come to the conclusion that the speaker is, indubitably, an advocate for votes buying/selling.

That wasn’t the only statement he made. In a news published by the online PUNCH newspaper, he admitted that he said he was richer than Osun State. That’s not even the point, we have richer personalities like Dangote, Otedola, et cetera who did exploits and still are doing exploits. What’s more saddening about the news is that Tinubu was addressing the supporters of the Action People’s Congress(APC) on the need to deliver votes for the party.

Similarly, he promised “handsome cash rewards” to those who will vote for the party. Where then is the forwardness of Nigeria, when such a leader could impel the citizens to sell their votes? What about those people who don’t want to sell their votes but are poor?

Votes buying/selling as well as the manipulation of election results are acts bedeviling the country. If such acts are not countered, then our democracy in which they exist is questionable. But the question that keeps on reiterating is: can it ever cease in this country? For how long should we continue to indulge in these despicable acts?

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